Team Spirit are a 4-piece rock group that stayed incredibly busy during their time in Austin at this year’s installment of SXSW. The group, set to drop their debut on Vice Records this coming April, is perfect for all you fun-loving NYC rocker types out there, and you should make it a point to grab a copy for yourselves when it hits the shelves. A brief summation of the band, I know, but the debacle I went through to catch up with these guys (no fault of their own) almost drove me to pull the last remaining 4 hairs out of my head. Somehow, I made it work. Back story, you say? Why not.
As I pulled into Austin by Megabus 15 minutes late to the interview, I found myself completely unable to catch a cab to speed me to my destination 1.5 miles down the road. Maybe it was because the meet up was right in the heart of the burgeoning SXSW madness, or maybe it’s because I’m easily pegged as a Yankee, but when a cabbie says ‘That’s too far from here” after requesting a 2-minute drive, I have to call bullshit.
Long story short, after a hasty waddle, suitcase in tow, all the way from w21st. to 401 E. Cesar Chavez (Viceland,) I caught up with Team Spirit just as they were about to pull away in a cab and, cool guys they are, they held off just long enough to knock out a quick interview, my first at SXSW 2013. Oh SXSW… How is it that you manage to make life completely nonsensical yet wholly successful at the same time?
G- What’s going on everybody? How are you doing?
A- Hey what’s up Greg!
G- This worked out very well! So, first and foremost, for some of our readers who may not know who Team Spirit is, let’s get a quick introduction… what are your names, what do you play, and where is everybody from?
A- Hey I’m Ayad! I play lead guitar and lead vocals.
C- Cosmo. Lead guitar.
T- I’m Toby and I play bass.
M- Hey I’m Mike. I’m lead drummer!
G- (laughing) Lead drummer… I dig that. I dig that! So, how long have you guys been down in Austin and how’s it been for you so far?
A- We’ve been here since last night when we flew in. We hung out at Viceland, and it’s been pretty damn awesome so far!
G- Lots of alcohol, lots of women?
A- Getting there.
T-You gotta take it slow at first before you really amp it up.
A- Well, let’s play a show, and then we’re REALLY gonna amp it up!
G- And that’ll be tonight, right here at Viceland, am I right?
G- Excellent! I can’t wait to see that!
So, you guys are about to drop your debut on Vice Records… Tell us a little bit about it. How many songs are on it, where did you record, who was behind the boards, and when can we expect it out?
M- Wait? What was the question? That’s a question for him!
(Band cracks up as I repeat)
G- Fuckin’ drummers! I am one, so I can say it. Lead drummer, everybody. Lead drummer!
A- We got a 5-song EP coming out. It was recorded at a little studio in Greenpoint, in a little one room situation. I ran the boards and the pre’s and stuff, and it was literally in a one room space, drums in the corner, guitars… Layers and layers and layers, and just getting it done.
We put it together. Vice loved it and are putting it out, and we’re working on the LP right now. We’ve moved up to the fucking Catskills! Took the whole studio to a bigger space, and we’re recording in a barn. It’s been kind of hilarious.
G- Right on right on. And when can we expect that release to hit the store and hit the shelves?
A- 4/9 it’s coming, and on a 10”, which is my favorite kind of vinyl!
A- Not enough gets put out on 10” because it’s, like, right in the middle, and this EP is the perfect length for it. So, it’s coming out on 4/9, and whenever the LP comes out, that’s gonna be maybe this year? Let’s hope!
G- So, where else are you going to be playing at SXSW besides this Viceland party tonight?
M- We’re playing Brooklyn Vegan, and Banners, and Midget Men, and Fuzz.
A- Fuzz is the best thing ever! Fuzz is like a monthly, every last Thursday of the month, these awesome people get together and throw, like, pretty much the only true punk rock thing that goes on in NYC… This karaoke buffet that they rent out. It’s tiny, and it’s cramped, and you get to do lead guitar solos on buffet tables. What’s better than that?
T- Chinese karaoke buffet.
G- I hear they’re very into their karaoke.
Band- Oh yes!
A- They take it VERY seriously!
G- Well, make sure you have those liner notes and lyrics printed out on all of your merchandise so they can sing it!
Now, for a band that is on the rise and on the build, gimme 3 bands that you’d like to share a bill with in the future if you could put together your dream lineup.
T- I’m psyched to be playing with Japandroids tonight!
A- Japandroids, yeah!
G- So there’s one.
M- Divine Fits, and Thin Lizzy.
G- Thin Lizzy?! Alright!!! I’m with that!
Now, Brooklyn band, on Vice Records, it’s not PG rated, so tell us about you craziest show to date… Where was it and what was it like?
M- It’s gotta be Fuzz.
T- Fuzz, cuz it’s one of those things where it’s 70% beautiful women in this tiny room, and everyone is going berserk!
M- Nobody who works there can speak English, and it’s great! It’s 3 flights up on Canal Street, and we’re carrying 8×10’s and it’s nuts.
A- WE GOTTA HAVE THE STACKS, GUYS!!! What’s rock and roll without the stacks?!?!
G- Nice. So, you’re down at SXSW like thousands of other bands and artists right now. You made the trip from NYC, you have a record coming out, and a lot of bands look up to you guys. They want to be in your position and they want to be doing the exact same thing that Team Spirit is doing… What advice could you give some of the upcoming artists like yourselves who want to try and make it in this business?
M- Don’t work so hard.
T- Don’t give up.
C- Stick with your day job.
G- I’ve also heard ‘Take engineering in school.’
A – Just kick ass when you play! If you don’t kill live, than you don’t kill on record.
G- Always destroy the band that goes after you, unless you’re headlining.
A- We’ll have a tough time doing that tonight, because tonight’s lineup is fucking awesome!
M- We heard their (Japandroids) sound check, and it was awesome!
G- We’ll, I’ll be at the show and I’m there to see you guys! Look, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Play well, have fun, and we will see you tonight!
Band- Thanks, Greg!